On May 18, 2001, the Town of Markham hosted a live demonstration of its cart collection pilot, in place since early April. At their home on Brandiles Place, the McKibbon family was joined by several guests, including Markham Mayor Don Cousens, York Region Councillor Gord Landon, and Joe Hruska and Damian Bassett of CSR: Corporations Supporting Recycling.
The pilot project, which involves 588 homes, requires residents to put away their blue boxes, garbage bags and cans for at least six months and use two large “roll-out” carts: the SSI Schaefer Compostainer for kitchen and yard organic materials, and the Bonar split cart for recyclables and garbage. Other sponsors of the pilot include the Waste Diversion Organization and Miller Waste Systems.
“This innovative double cart test is a first in Canada,” said Mayor Don Cousens. “While a handful of other municipalities use household ‘roll-out’ carts for kitchen and yard organic materials, no municipality has ever tried using the ‘split’ cart.”
The average town-wide waste diversion rate is typically 32 per cent (23 per cent recyclables and 9 per cent yard waste). Since April, the recovery of recyclables has increased to 31 per cent and the diversion of yard waste has increased to 34 per cent, for a total diversion rate of 65 per cent.
According to Markham Waste Management Coordinator Peter Veiga participation is at 99 per cent and there has already been talk about expanding the program into the winter.
Helene St. Jacques, president of INFORMA, the market research company that undertook extensive research before the pilot was initiated, says that the wheels on the carts were an attractive feature for senior residents who find the blue box heavy to carry to the curb.
The automated cart program is the second of two waste diversion initiatives undertaken in Markham in the past year to test options to decrease the amount of garbage destined for landfill disposal. The first project, “Bag-It,” provided 600 households with transparent plastic bags for recyclables and kitchen organic waste, successfully diverting about 50 per cent of residential waste.
Contact Peter Veiga at 905-477-7000 ext. 3700